Weekly economic review (July 7-11)

Qualitatively new industrialization stage starts in Azerbaijan, minister says

With the announcement of 2014 the year industry in the country, a new industrialization stage has started in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev said.

He made the remarks at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, held under chairmanship of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The meeting was dedicated to the socio-economic development of Azerbaijan in the first half of 2014 and the challenges ahead.

"A state program was prepared to develop industry in 2015-2020, based on the sector's long-term development directions that are reflected in the development concept 'Azerbaijan - 2020: Outlook for the Future'," Mustafayev said.

"Aside from that, under the action plan approved for the current year, work is underway to strengthen industrial capacities and competitiveness in this sector, to improve human resources and scientific support, and to improve the regulatory framework," he added.

He said that a contract was signed within these measures for consulting services with regard to the creation of "Azerbaijani complex for the production of steel."

"The works to create a complex, to efficiently organize the activity of existing production areas and improve the material and technical base are being carried out in line with the schedule," the minister said.

"The complex, which is to cover all phases - starting from the mining of iron ore to steel production, will allow meeting the domestic demand for steel and cast iron products," Mustafayev said, adding that the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park started producing steel and polyethylene pipes.

"Aside from that, work is underway to organize production, namely, hydraulic facilities resistant to high pressure, polypropylene and high density polyethylene. These products will not only to meet the domestic demand, but will also be exported," Minister Mustafayev stressed.

He said talks are underway with potential investors, and their projects aimed at attracting new residents and organization of chemical products manufacturing for such areas as construction, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and others, are being assessed.

"The work continues for the final formation of the park's infrastructure. The companies, registered at the Balakhani industrial park as residents, have started manufacturing 120 different types of products from recycled oils, as well as, recycling plastics. Along with this, the corresponding activity is continuing to attract potential residents to the park," Mustafayev said.

He added that work is underway create a legal framework for establishing Ganja and Mingachevir industrial parks.

Mustafayev said the current experience in creation of industrial districts has been studied, and the corresponding design works have been initially launched in the Neftchala District.

"The current situation in engineering was investigated, and the investment projects submitted by enterprises were analyzed. Proposals on development of this industry are being prepared. In total, the production in the non-oil industry grew by 4.2 percent in six months of this year, as compared with the same period of last year," Mustafayev said.

The minister said dependence on imports of a number of products decreased thanks to the recent commissioning of new industrial enterprises.

He said enterprises were commissioned to produce some building materials, adding that the domestic demand for those building materials can be met with local raw materials, particularly by cement plants.

"As a result, the production of construction materials rose by 16.8 percent, and cement - by 39 percent. Demand in cement will be fully provided by domestic production before late this year," the minister added.

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